Hard-line newspaper close to Iran's rulers says the country has begun uranium enrichment at a well-protected underground facility.
Kayhan daily reported Sunday that Iran has begun enriching uranium at sophisticated centrifuges at the Fordo site near the holy city of Qom.
The US and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
Tehran, Iran has begun uranium enrichment program at a new underground site well protected from possible air strikes, a leading hard-line newspaper reported Sunday
“Kayhan received a report yesterday that shows Iran has begun uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility amid heightened foreign enemy threats,” the paper said in a front-page report. Kayhan’s manager is a representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran is under UN. sanctions for refusing to stop uranium enrichment that’s can produce both nuclear fuel and fissile warhead material and other suspected activities that the international community fears could be used to make atomic arms.
The country has been enriching uranium to less than 5 percent for years, but it began to further enrich part of its uranium stockpile to nearly 20 percent as of February 2010, saying it needs the higher grade material to produce fuel for a Tehran reactor that makes medical radioisotopes needed for cancer patients. Weapons-grade uranium is usually about 90 percent enriched.
"The Fordo facility, like Natanz, has been designed and built underground. The enemy doesn't have the ability to damage it," the semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Abbasi as saying Sunday
The US and its allies fear Iran’s ability to make its own nuclear fuel will eventually lead to atomic weapons, because the technology offers a possible pathway to weapons-grade nuclear material.
Iran says it only seeks reactors for energy and research, but refuses to halt its uranium enrichment activities. It says it needs to keep the enrichment program to produce fuel for future nuclear reactors and medical radioisotopes needed for cancer patients.